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Hurricane Ian nears Cuba on way to strike Florida as a Category 4 storm


“Its the real thing.”

This Sept. 25, 2022, satellite image released by NASA shows Hurricane Ian on the Caribbean Sea moving close to the Cayman Islands and nearer to western Cuba. NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) via AP


HAVANA (AP) Hurricane Ian was growing stronger since it approached the western tip of Cuba on a track going to the west coast of Florida as a significant hurricane as soon as Wednesday.

Ian was forecast going to the western tip of Cuba as a significant hurricane and become a straight stronger Category 4 with top winds of 140 mph (225 km/h) over warm Gulf coast of florida waters before striking Florida.

By Monday, Tampa and St. Petersburg were the being among the most likely targets for his or her first direct hit by way of a major hurricane since 1921.

Please regard this storm seriously. Its the real thing. This is simply not a drill, Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Timothy Dudley said at a news conference on storm preparations in Tampa.

National Hurricane Center
National Hurricane Center

Authorities in Cuba evacuated 50,000 people in Pinar del Rio province, submitted medical and emergency personnel, and took steps to safeguard food along with other crops in warehouses, in accordance with state media.

Cuba is expecting extreme hurricane-force winds, also life threatening storm surge and heavy rainfall, U.S. National Hurricane Center senior specialist Daniel Brown told The Associated Press early Monday.

The hurricane center predicted regions of Cubas western coast could see just as much as 14 feet (4.3 meters) of storm surge Monday night or early Tuesday.

In Havana, fishermen were taking their boats from the water across the famous Malecon, the seaside boardwalk, and city workers were busy unclogging storm drains prior to the expected rain.

Havana resident Adyz Ladron, 35, said the prospect of rising water from the storm worries him.

I’m very scared because the house gets completely flooded, with water around here, he said, pointing to his chest.

On Monday afternoon, Ian was moving northwest at 13 mph (20 km/h), about 195 miles (310 kilometers) southeast of the western tip of Cuba, with top sustained winds increasing to 85 mph (135 km/h).

The biggest market of the hurricane was passing to the west of the Cayman Islands, where Premier Wayne Panton said the federal government and its own opposition were working together to help keep individuals as safe as you possibly can. No major damage was reported there Monday, and residents were heading back in to the streets because the winds died down.

Ian wont linger over Cuba, but will decelerate over the Gulf coast of florida, growing wider and stronger, that will have the potential to create significant wind and storm surge impacts across the west coast of Florida, the hurricane center said.

A surge as high as 10 feet (3 meters) of ocean water and 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain was predicted over the Tampa Bay area, with just as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) inches in isolated areas. Thats enough water to inundate coastal communities.

As much as 300,000 people could be evacuated from low-lying areas in Hillsborough County alone, county administrator Bonnie Wise said. Some of these evacuations were beginning Monday afternoon in probably the most vulnerable areas, with schools along with other locations opening as shelters.

We should do everything we are able to to safeguard our residents. Time is of the essence, Wise said.

Floridians prearranged all night in Tampa to get bags of sand and cleared store shelves of water in bottles. Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a statewide emergency and warned that Ian could lash large regions of hawaii, knocking out power and interrupting fuel supplies since it swirls northward off the states Gulf coast.

You’ve got a significant storm that could become a Category 4 hurricane, DeSantis said at a news conference. Thats likely to cause a large amount of storm surge. Youre likely to have flood events. Youre likely to have plenty of different impacts.

DeSantis said hawaii has suspended tolls round the Tampa Bay area and mobilized 5,000 Florida state national guard troops, with another 2,000 on standby in neighboring states.

President Joe Biden also declared a crisis, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief and offer assist with protect lives and property. The president postponed a scheduled Tuesday visit to Florida due to the storm.

Playing it safe, NASA planned to begin with slowly rolling its moon rocket from the launch pad to its Kennedy Space Center hangar, adding weeks of delay to the test flight.

Flash flooding was predicted for a lot of the Florida peninsula, and heavy rainfall was easy for the southeast USA later this week. With tropical storm force winds extending 115 miles (185 kilometers) from Ians center, watches covered the Florida Keys to Lake Okeechobee.

Bob Gualtieri, sheriff of Pinellas County, Florida, which include St. Petersburg, said in a briefing that although no-one will undoubtedly be forced to leave, mandatory evacuation orders are anticipated to begin with Tuesday.

What this means is, weren’t likely to come assist you to. In the event that you dont take action, youre by yourself, Gualtieri said.

Zones to be evacuated include all along Tampa Bay and the rivers that feed it. St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch urged residents never to ignore any evacuation orders.

It is a very real threat that storm poses to your community, Welch said.

The hurricane center has advised Floridians to possess survival plans set up and monitor updates of the storms evolving path.


Associated Press contributors include Curt Anderson in St. Petersburg, Florida; Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Florida; and Julie Walker in NY.

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